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What is it with all this anti-consumerism anyway? I just don’t buy it!

Stop. Buy nothing!!

Buy nothing day is a movement that was started to try and stop the over commercialisation, aggressive price cutting and consumer addiction sales days like Black Friday has created. The movement encourages everyone to simply do one thing every Black Friday, spend nothing. This year, Black Friday falls on November 27th. Usually this is a day for finding deals by rushing to the shops, cueing outside at 5am to see what amazing discounts you can bag.

This year, it will be more about online purchases, as most have turned to anyway. At a time of financial hardship for many, I am sure Black Friday will still be a massive thing for the online giants, who will draw huge crowds to their virtual storefronts. Enticing people with one time only deals. People will buy stuff they don’t need, or maybe don’t even really want. But the adrenaline rush of the purchase will keep people happy for a fleeting moment. The endorphins released that encourage us to buy more when purchasing new things is a scientifically proven fact. What is less documented is the physical and mental reaction after this wears away a minute later, an bills need to be paid.

Shopping has become an addiction for many. Searching sites endlessly for products you don’t need. Sometimes even without an item in mind. Just seeing what’s there. Let’s replace that with the physical equivalent for a moment Walking around hundreds of shops looking at product after product, asking a salesperson what a thousand strangers thought of it, all at midnight for hours in your pyjamas. You’d lock that person up!

An addiction or pastime?

But this is what we have all become. Myself included. It’s so easy. Quite relaxing. And let’s face it, when you do find that bargain, it’s a good feeling. And I did need that air purifier anyway. Shut up!

So, I get the movement against this. Lets just all have one day when we don’t spend. We put down the phones and tablets and enjoy all the other crap we have already got. Can you even remember what you bought in the last sales splurge anyway? How many times have you actually used that cheese toasty maker? And do your feet feel any better for that one use in the £99 foot spa you bought for a bargain £19.99?!

For the board games industry, it is much the same. Online retailers across the globe will tout their Black Friday deals. I am sure there will be some good offers out there. Probably for games that they have surplus stock of after poor reviews as they are not actually that good, but there you go, a deal is a deal! I will probably have a look too and see what I can find. But let’s just take a moment to see it from the Buy Nothing Day campaigns point of view.

They want us to stop. Why? Well a few reasons.

1. Its killing local businesses. Smaller shops cannot discount as aggressively and so people turn to the big corporates to find the best prices. Do we want our local community shops to go? They have been there for us when we need them. Providing us with the products and produce we need. For some of us, even gainful employment in our teens and beyond. I see the benefit to protecting this. Especially this year when shopping local has become more vital for other wider reasons. My local shop carried out some amazing initiatives to support the local elderly and vulnerable community during the last few months. It would be a shame if this sort of activity died away. I didn’t see Amazon delivering fresh vegetables for free in lockdown.

2. Direct from the buying nothing website. “The anarchy that ensues on Black Friday has now become an absurd dystopian phenomenon.” Yeah, agreed! We have all seen the scenes on the news. People being trampled on as they try to get into a major department store or retailer first. It makes me sad to watch these scenes. I think it is because it shows the desperation and greed that we all, as humans have. I don’t like it about myself or others. It’s a primal thing that comes from the need to provide. If you don’t win that fight and bring home the meat, your family dies. But this isn’t an essential Mammoth we are bringing home. It’s a new 4K TV. Let’s all try and put into perspective what we actually need. Maybe instead of buying a new electrical device or plastic child’s toy monstrosity, we can all try and focus on what matters. Our friends. Our family. Our health.

3. Ok, and let’s face it. Another huge reason this even exists is for everything, there is a counter thing. “I love this!” “I hate this!” “You must support this thing!” “This thing is evil and corrupt!” We live in a world of polarised and extreme opinions. Some love Black Friday, others hate it. Again, this is the gaming world all over. Just look at the release of Pendulum this year! I campaign for calm during these moments. There are loads of ok games. Solid 6 out of 10’s. They are not the best thing ever, nor are they the worst. This movement seems to exist simply because it can. They want us to stop as someone, somewhere wants us to stop everything we do. Maybe even trivial blogs for online board game rental sites.

So, what does this all mean to you? Well nothing. You can carry on with your lives as you were before. Neither this movement, nor this piece, can dictate your life more than any other website or thing. It all feels a bit preachy to me. We are constantly being told what we can and can’t do. I get this issue and the support of local business’ is crucial. And I suppose this day and way is as good as any to highlight this important issue. But for me, I am not sure. People make their own choices. Just because they have a bit of fun on Black Friday doesn’t mean they wont then go to their local store the next day to buy something they actually need!

A world of extremes!

But this is the world we live in now. Everything is great or bad. For me, Black Friday is ok. I will have a look online and probably buy something I don’t really like or need, but I will feel excited when I buy it and a few days later when it turns up. And again, a few years later when I finally recycle it. That’s three moments of happiness during a year of pain for so many. I say, live and let live. Let people waste their time and money on Black Friday. Maybe the movement should be flipped.

I say, everyone go online on Black Friday and buy all the useless junk you don’t need. This is the purge. Get it out your system and go nuts.

Then for the rest of the year, ok sorry, let’s be realistic, the rest of the week, try and shop local. Support your local businesses. And put your phone down and be present in the moment. Actually watch that show you have on rather than see what Twitter thinks of it. Look the person you are talking to in the eye rather than scrolling through Instagram. Breathe in that smell of the coffee. Not every activity needs to be accompanied by the casual scrolling of a phone.

Take care y’all and happy shopping. Or not, do whatever makes you happy!

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